Friday, January 4, 2013

Hitting 100 (but not THAT 100)

A little over a year ago, Brazen asked whether people preferred to run a race on New Year's Eve or on New Year's Day. While a lot of people voted for one or the other, a surprising number of people tossed out the ridiculous idea of why not both? Mr and Mrs Brazen took a deep breath and agreed, and so the back to back races came to pass. To sweeten the pot, if you did both races, you got a bonus medal to tie the race medals together, like a puzzle.

It was very successful, so they decided to do it again this year, only the calendar wasn't as favorable, which meant the New Year's Eve race was really New Year's Eve Eve Eve. Not many runners complained about having a couple of days in between the races though.

Mrs Notthat and I signed up for the Half Marathon for both races. On New Year's Eve Eve Eve though, Mrs Notthat was fighting some nasty neck pains and switched to the 5K distance.

Picture by World Famous Etep (not his real name).
Before the first race started, Brazen held their Streaker awards ceremony.

Back in 2010, Brazen held 15 races and, on the last race of the year, surprised three runners with Streaker awards, given to those that either ran or volunteered at all of the year's races. The award is a shadowbox that contains the medals from each of the races.

This got people's attention and suddenly there was a new challenge to shoot for.

In 2011, Brazen held 21 races and, on the last race of the year, gave out 17 Streaker awards (all three from the first year also scored again). In 2012, making it even tougher, Brazen held 23 races and on Saturday, handed out 32 Streaker awards, including the one above to Weird Haired Mom.

These are really impressive, as are the people that somehow managed to juggle their schedule and not miss a race for an entire year.

And finally, the NYEEE race.

A family photo with The Endorphin Dude playing the part of me. Sort of. He looks a bit less whiny than I do.
First, it was cold. Not Alaska cold, but way colder than state law allows for the Bay Area. The good thing was that it wasn't raining, although since it had been raining, a lot, a few days earlier, anything that wasn't paved was like a fully loaded sponge.

Photo by Brazen volunteer. 

The races are held at Lake Chabot, and the Brazen course is infamous the slog up Live Oak Trail; a long, sometimes steep climb that on this day was very muddy and slippery.

For the most part, the rest of the trails were in reasonably good shape, with occasional puddles and sloppy sections  to have to deal with.

And a number of downed trees.

One of the trees snagged a frog and knocked my hat and glasses off, which made it look like I had went head-first into the trail.

Before the race, I had set myself a goal of finishing in under three hours. I knew this wouldn't be easy - the recently reconfigured version of this course adds a bit more climbing and distance to the previous versions, but I was determined to do it.

And I did, finishing in just under 2:57.

The better news was that Mrs Notthat survived her 5K in flying colors, and was convinced that she would be able to run the Half on New Year's Day.

The NYD race was special in that it was the 100th lifetime race for both of us. (There have been many races we did not do together - us ending up with the same number is bizarre.)

And Mrs Notthat was indeed feeling fine and raring to go for the Half.

The fun thing was that we got to run the course in the opposite direction, which surprisingly makes it seem like a totally different course. There was a fair amount of discussion about which direction was easiest, and most felt the reverse direction was easier since it meant that we would be going down the Live Oak Trail. Plus the course is slightly shorter in this direction. (Looking at the winning times, the reverse direction was three minutes faster, but the course was dryer with fewer downed trees, so it might not be a fair comparison.)

Photo by World Famous Etep (still not his real name).

Most of the downed trees were still there, so Mrs Notthat got to try her hand at crossing them.

Another difference was that the shooting range was closed for the NYD race. Usually you get to spend several miles listening to very enthusiastic gunfire that often sounds like it is within just a few feet of you. Race veterans are used to this, but newcomers can get alarmed by it. The quiet on NYD was a nice change, although it meant I could better hear the creaky eucalyptus trees, which are uncanny at sounding like they are going to topple over at any moment if there is the slightest breeze.

Photo by World Famous Etep. Again.
This picture is of the same area of Live Oak Trail as way back earlier in this report - note how dry it is, but how rutted and challenging.

Photo by not nearly World Famous Not A Canadian. Eh.
I had hopes of keeping up with Mrs Notthat for this race. I also have hopes of flying to the moon, and it's looking like the moon is much more likely now. Mrs Notthat had several pacers that pushed her along so that she ended up with a stunning time of 2:38. Yeah, I don't think her neck bothered her much.

Photo by Brazen volunteer. I partially blame my slow time on that thing on my head. It greatly increased my wind resistance.
Meanwhile, I had been shuffling along, with my legs not nearly as perky as they had been for the NYEEE race. I was OK with not posting a sub-three hour time, but when I got to the top of the last hill and did a tiny bit of math, I realized it was still possible. So I charged down that hill (OK, I shuffled a bit faster down that hill) and made it to the finish line at 3:00:16. There was no way I figured I would get that close, so I was thrilled. But if I had taken a couple fewer pictures or picked up a couple fewer empty GU wrappers…

The races were a blast. The weather was good, but very chilly - especially on the NYD race when the breeze came up. The medals were awesome, although if you only did the first race, you got a peculiar medal with a horse's butt. (The NYD race got the horse's head, and if you did both races, you got the horse's wings. And one of it's back legs.)

There were MANY running friends doing these races, which made them feel more like a party at times. A cold but sweaty party.

That's it - move along…

PS: You can see more of my pictures for NYEEE and NYD.


Beth said...

Looks like another great Brazen adventure! I saw Mrs 1/2 time in the results and was totally impressed!
The horse butt medal is pretty funny, I wonder if there were many first time Brazen runners wondering what's with the butt medal??

mary ann said...

this is cool and I love the puzzle piece medal concept ~ congrats to you both!